Textiles are an industry with constant demand throughout the world. The textile industry supplies and supports various industries in Australia and worldwide, like the Fashion industry, the Furniture and Upholstery industry, the Art and Entertainment industry and more. They are a vital industry for every economy.
The Australian textile industry is known primarily for its surf garments and textiles and exports more than 6.1 billion AUD worth of textiles every year. The Textile trade consists of several processes, machinery, and sub-categories like fibre production, yarn production, fabric production, and more. They use industrial-grade machines like cotton gin machines, looms, spinning machines, and industrial sewing machines in Australia and worldwide.
AUSTRALIAN TEXTILE INDUSTRY: THE PROCESS
The primary process of textile production doesn’t vary globally as all fabrics go through the same processes. Even in Australia, from surfwear to casual beachwear, which has different fabric requirements, the production stages are the same.
Stage 1: Fibre Production
Fibres are the basic elements of any fabric material which are spun into yarn. All fabrics from natural cotton to synthetic polyester start as fibres. The raw material of the fabric undergoes several treatments resulting in fibres. For example, with cotton, raw cotton undergoes treatment to become the white and fluffy cotton known commercially. This cotton undergoes a further process to become cotton fibres. The fibre production industry’s end product is these fibres of various fabrics.
Stage 2: Yarn Production
The end product from the fibre production moves onto the next stage, which is yarn spinning. The yarn production industry spins these fibres into yarn or threads using industrial-grade spinning machines. The machines spin fibres at high speeds, making a continuous flow of yarn. These threads are spun onto spools in appropriate lengths for effortless usage. Thread spools come in various sizes according to the requirement. The spools may also undergo dyeing to produce threads in different colours. These spools are the end product of the yarn production industry.
Stage 3: Fabric Material Production
The spools of threads move onto the next stage of production, which is the weaving of fabric. Weaving industries in Australia use looms to spin and interweave the yarns to form running fabric material. At this stage, they can also use yarn of various colours to make a patterned fabric. This type of weaving is usually done manually and falls under the handloom industry. Commercially produced clothes and materials usually use digital machines to print the pattern on the fabric.
After weaving the material, the next step is to print the design onto the fabric. Patterned fabric moves onto the next stage, which is called ‘finishing’. Finishing refers to processing the woven fabric to increase its strength and perfect any imperfections. Finishing of fabric requires special machinery to polish the fabric for stray fibres and machinery to boost the integrity of the weave to make usable textile material. This finished fabric is the end product of the fabric production industry.
The Next Step
The end product from the textile industry then moves onto various other commercial sectors, primarily fashion and design. But textiles have a larger role than imagined; from commercial product packaging to art and even engineering, fabrics are a requisite everywhere. But most textiles in Australia come from abroad. Several large clothing brands native to Australia exist, but most import fabric materials for their designs.
Even so, the textile industry in Australia continues to grow by 2% annually. Australia exports a lot of its fibres, which contributes to the industry’s growth. Companies producing industrial grade textile machinery like industrial looms, ginning and spinning machinery, dyeing machines, and industrial sewing machines in Australia also contribute to this growth.